Co-creation with Customers


Frank Piller







Christoph Ihl








The main objective of a company engaging in co-creation is to enlarge its base of information about needs, applications, and solution technologies that resides in the domain of customers and users creation (Piller and Ihl 2009; Ramaswamy and Gouillart 2010). The methods used to achieve this objective include but go beyond tools described in chapter 5: user idea contests (Ebner et al. 2008; Piller and Walcher 2006; Füller 2010), consumer opinion platforms (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004; Sawhney, Verona, and Prandelli 2005), toolkits for user innovation (von Hippel and Katz 2002; Franke and Piller 2004), and communities for customer co-creation (Franke and Shah 2003; Füller, Matzler, and Hoppe 2008). The difference between customer co-creation and the lead-user concept as introduced by Eric von Hippel (1988) and summarized in chapter 8 is often fuzzy in practice, but distinct from a conceptual point of view. Lead users are intrinsically motivated to innovate, performing the innovation process autonomously and without any interaction with a manufacturer. It then is the task of the interested firm to identify and capture the resulting inventions. Our understanding of customer co-creation, in contrast, is built on a firm-driven strategy that facilitates interaction with its customers and users. Instead of just screening the user base to detect any existing prototypes created by lead users, the firm provides instruments and tools to a broader group of customers and potential customers to actively co-create a solution together creation (Ramirez 1999).


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The Book

The book Leading Open Innovation describes OI’s search for smart people who might expand the space for innovation.
It reflects international, cross-sector, and transdisciplinary interests among contributors from the United States, Germany, France, Finland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Tunisia, Austria, and China working in large multinational organizations, academic institutions, or entrepreneurial projects.
They are part of the Peter Pribilla network, which Ralf Reichwald describes at the end of the volume as a point of contact that supports overlapping interests in innovation and leadership.

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